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Health and Fitness News

Caregiver Burnout

Are you at risk?

Being a caregiver is an honorable task, but it’s one that’s not always easy to fulfill. It is emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausting to care for a sick child or an aging parent 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Therefore, it’s important to take the necessary steps to avoid caregiver burnout by recognizing the warning signs and getting the help you need as soon as possible.

Remember, you’ve got to take care of yourself in order to be a good caregiver to those you love. Keep reading to learn what burnout looks like and how to avoid it.

An Attitude Change

After caring for someone for an extended period of time, you may notice your attitude and energy level are changing. Being the caregiver has begun to wear you down and you no longer feel joy or motivation to carry out your responsibilities.

Caregiver burnout often looks similar to the symptoms of someone who’s stressed or depressed. You may feel irritable, blue, or exhausted; you may experience sleep problems; or you may not feel as hungry as usual. Additionally, you may lose interest in activities you used to enjoy or no longer feel like hanging out with family and friends. Let it go long enough, and caregiver burnout can lead to dangerous thoughts of harming yourself or the person you’re taking care of.

High Demands

When your time and energy are consumed with caring for someone, it’s easy to overlook your own needs. The emotional, physical, and mental demands can wear you down if you don’t get help and take care of yourself.

Burnout may happen when you put unrealistic expectations on yourself to keep your loved one happy, healthy, and comfortable at all times. It’s common to become burdened by the responsibility and demands. With your previous role of child or spouse becoming confused with your new role of caregiver, you may feel overwhelmed by a lack of resources, finances, or skill to care for your loved one.

Make a Plan

If you have trusted friends or family members, work together to share the load. An afternoon off to run errands, a week off for vacation, or a meal every once in a while can go a long way in preventing burnout. Be willing to accept help when it’s offered.

You’ll also benefit by not keeping everything bottled up. Share your feelings and get advice from a trusted friend, co-worker, or counselor.

Set aside time for yourself. Get a massage, go to a movie, work out at the gym, or have lunch with a friend. Get out of the house on a regular basis and do something you enjoy.

Gain a sense of control by learning all you can about your loved one’s health condition. This way you will know what to expect as their health needs change and won’t catch you off guard.

Keep yourself healthy and strong by eating a nutritious diet, getting regular exercise, and getting enough sleep each night.

Seek Help

If you know you’re headed toward burnout or are already there, seek help. There’s no need for you to shoulder the burden alone. Research resources for people in your situation and make use of them. Some services that you may consider include:

  • a private care aide to help assess your needs and recommend available services
  • adult day care programs that offer medical care, social activities, and supervision
  • home health services that allow your loved one to remain at home with access to skilled nursing care if needed
  • assisted living or nursing home care

Regardless of your situation, seeking help is the best way to ensure you avoid caregiver burnout and continue providing the best care for your loved ones.

About Training with Mr. America
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